Ah – the Boots 70% off sale – it’s the money saver’s World Cup/X Factor final/Game of Thrones finale. Back in my MoneySavingExpert days, it was the sale we would spend weeks hunting out information about it – It used to be 75% off too!
The MSE office used to be based in Shepherds Bush, opposite the giant Westfield shopping centre and I’d go over there seeing if I could spot hidden signs giving away when the sale would start.
Boots itself (the PR department) would never tell you, and the staff remained tight-lipped too. We typically got a day or two notice, write it up with the kind of things you’d expect to see in it and seriously, the MSE audience would go wild!
People love the sale because you can buy next year’s presents for a fraction of the price you would usually.
Realistically, the items are never ‘full price’ because they’re in its 3 for 2 sale before Christmas, so you do have to take that into consideration when assessing whether what you’re buying is a bargain.
When I shop at the Boots 70% off sale, I’m looking for two things. Presents for next year, and items I’ll use through the year which are cheaper in a gift set than they are individually.
My boyfriend is a Nivea fan (well, he’ll use whatever he’s given, to be honest! He’s hardly picky!) – so I pick up all the body washes, shampoos etc I can get my hands on.
For example, I bought him a £6.50 duo gift set but paid £1.95 for it. The deodorant is usually £2.99 while the body wash is typically £2.80 – so it’s a decent discount.
This year the Boots 70% off sale was a bit of a drama. For the last three years, the sale has started at the same-ish time – three weeks into January on a Friday (though it used to be Wednesday). Martin Lewis went on Good Morning Britain and said the sale was unconfirmed but likely to start on the Friday and the hype started to build.
But it didn’t! YIKES! Boots didn’t start the sale, and the people who were queuing outside the store and staying up all night to buy the items online were not pleased. That’s the risk we take being bargain hunters I suppose! ha. Live by the sword, die by the sword.
Boots also isn’t running the sale online this year, only in-store this year which is a bit odd. People used to put everything they could in their basket the night before the sale was meant to start, then as midnight struck and they could checkout – do it before the site went down.
Personally, I could never get on board with shopping online. It used to drive me nuts. The website was so slow it would test the patience of the Pope and you’d put something in your basket, and it would jump out of the basket when you went to pay.
I prefer to face the crowds in-store. (If you do shop online btw – make sure you’re using cashback!)
Here’s what I do. A week or so before I think the sale is going to start, I scour the Boots stores around where I live and where I work to figure out where I’m going to hit when the Boots sale does happen. It gives me something to do during my lunch hour I suppose!
I walk around the sale when it’s 50% off kind of hating the people buying it at that price. I’m sure they have their reasons but REALLY, do you need that gift set now? It’s going to be cheaper in the next few days.
I do get it though. If you *really* want something, maybe it’s just not worth the risk of waiting. That’s the thing with the Boots sale – you can’t really go into it wanting specific items. It’s a make-do with what you can get your hands on sort of situation.
That said, the gift sets really good and well priced – so most people would be happy to receive something like that at Christmas next year – especially if they don’t realise you paid a fraction of the price,
I find that Boots in busy shopping areas are no good. I live in around Tooting/Streatham in London and the main Boots stores there have nothing in them. There are too many people pop in there on a Saturday shopping and pick them up in the sale.
But… I also work in the centre of London. Around Fleet Street etc, there are lots of stores, with people who are busy and need to get back to their desks, not thinking about shopping, so not buying up the reduced gift sets.
The one I went to had a huge downstairs section that had big footfall on the top floor, but unless you’re busy baby stuff (why would you be in your lunch hour really?) you wouldn’t go downstairs and notice all the discounted stuff.
MoneySavingExpert managed to get confirmation from Boots that the sale was going to start, so decided to go to work 30 minutes early so I would have time to pop into the Boots I had scoped out. If you wait until lunchtime, you’re going to get scraps from my experience.
There was still plenty there (though a lot had gone), and managed to pick up some brilliant items. I had two baskets overflowing, and I could have bought more, but sometimes you have to think if you’re buying for the sake of it.
Because I run competitions on my social media channels, I knew nothing was going to be a big waste of money – but I did have to pull myself away. I still think, ‘Oh, should I have left that?’, but I certainly got enough.
Not including the beauty calendars I picked up in a different Boots store (I picked up two, one for me and one for my sister for next December), at £20 each (but there’s £85 worth of make-up in them) – I ended up spending £57, with a saving of £133.
None of it will go to waste, so I am happy with my bargains. The most expensive thing was the Soap and Glory make-up set that was £50 which I got for £15. I think I’ll use it as a competition prize as I’m covered for make-up. We’ll see.
Did you hit the Boots 70% off sale? What did you get? Let me know!